Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Date and Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Week 2 Opening NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Falcons -3, O/U 54
Packers vs. Falcons TV Coverage: NBC
While the offense left a little to be desired in last week’s 17-9 win and cover against Seattle, it still managed to do enough against a stout Seahawks’ defense to get the job done. Aaron Rodgers completed 28 of his 42 passes for 311 yards and a 1:1 TD/INT ratio, and once again proved to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league at forcing defensive miscues by getting Seattle for 12 men on the field which led to a touchdown strike to push the lead out to 14-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Most impressive about the team’s Week 1 triumph was the effort put forth by the defense. The Packers had no issues stopping opposing ground games last season ( No. 10 ), but was a sieve defending the pass ( No. 32 ). The front office looked to rectify that in the offseason, and it was rewarded with a sterling effort last Sunday. Seattle only managed 135 yards through the air and only 225 combined. Green Bay held onto the ball for nearly 20 more minutes, and because of it, was able to salt the game away in the fourth quarter to hold on for the victory. Do that against the Falcons in their brand new home, and the Packers will head back home undefeated.
The Falcons were one of the biggest liabilities for sportsbooks in Week 1. Better than 80 percent of the betting handle was laying between 6 and 7 points, so the 23-17 was one of the better end results that could have occurred. At least from a sportsbook frame of mind. Falcons’ backers thought they were sitting pretty after Matt Ryan connected with Austin Hooper for an 88 yard touchdown due to a blown defensive assignment, but Chicago made them sweat till the bitter end.
The Bears cut the lead to 20-17 four-plus minutes later, and then had four cracks at the tail end of the game to kill the hopes and dreams of all that inserted Atlanta into their teaser and parlay cards. They best go out and buy a Brooks Reed jersey after the defensive end sacked Mike Glennon on the game’s final play to preserve the six point victory. Atlanta’s defense limited Chicago to 301 total yards and registered four sacks. Offensively, Matty Ice racked up 321 passing yards, but Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman only combined for 53 yards on 20 combined carries. Atlanta’s ground game has to find a way to get going if the passing game is to take flight against the Packers retooled defense.
These teams have met three times in the last four seasons. Each of the last two occurred in Hotlanta with the Falcons coming out on top in a pair of high scorers. Last year’s NFC Championship Game was a bloodbath right from the start. Green Bay’s leaky defense had no shot of containing Atlanta’s unforgiving passing attack that gashed the unit for 392 yards and four touchdowns. Atlanta scored the game’s first 31 points and then put it in cruise control the rest of the way to come out the 44-21 victors as six point favorites. The 65 combined points still surpassed the 60 point closing total even though the Packers went scoreless through the first 35-plus minutes of play. The over has cashed in each of the last three tilts with an average of 70 points put on the board.
Packers vs. Falcons Picks
The Falcons hardly looked like the world beaters they proved to be last season in their season opener. However, they were out of their element playing outdoors on grass. Now back in the comforts of their shiny new home and on turf, I expect we’ll see a much different picture painted in Week 2. I’m still not sold on the Packers ground game. Ty Montgomery led all rushers with 54 yards and a touchdown, but it took him 19 carries to accrue that output. The duo of Freeman and Coleman will put loads of pressure on Green Bay’s defense, which will allow Julio Jones and company to further test the Packers revamped secondary. The betting public expects Green Bay to hang in this game evidenced by better than 62 percent of bets taken at the best NFL sportsbooks. This line looks to be headed south, and if that’s the case, I’ll be fading the public and riding the defending NFC champs in their home debut.
Packers vs. Falcons Week 2 ATS Pick: Falcons -3 at BookMaker.eu
Packers vs. Falcons Score Prediction: Falcons 33 – Packers 27